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Three Things to Consider Before Buying

There are many things to consider when buying a new XM Radio receiver. With all the advances in technology, one could argue that it has become more difficult to differentiate one brand or model from another. Receivers now come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, with different features including live portability and the capacity to play MP3 files. To start with, let's look at a couple of questions that we ask our customers when they are starting the process. We have found that these questions help to narrow the search of that perfect receiver.

Where will you use the radio?

Most people associate XM Radio as a product that can only be used in their vehicle. The reality is that most new receivers can be used anywhere. Ask yourself where you would want to listen to XM Radio. Would it be for the car, walking/running, at the office, or at the beach? The answer to this question will help to determine if you are looking for a Plug and Play receiver, home theater unit, hand-held receiver or the XM SkyDock for your iPod touch or iPhone. Keep this question in mind as you move through the guide.

What is your budget?

With all the rebates and deals going today, you can get great deal on a standard receiver without breaking the bank. However, if you have little more to spend, you can also purchase some great technology that will greatly enhance your listening experience.

What features do you want in a receiver?

This question will help to narrow down the field greatly. It helps if you decide what specific features or combination of features you are looking for and use them to help start the decision making process. There are many new types of receivers now that boast features such as MP3 record and playback, live portable receipt, and custom alert functions.

I think you will find your answers to each of these questions to be valuable in the purchase process. Now let's take a close look at the hardware.

XM Radio Receivers

Receivers can be broken down into categories based on features and functionality. The first category explained here portable XMP3 Players.

The XMP3i - XM Radio Receiver & MP3 Player


Live portable players are small, hand-held receivers featuring the ability to receive signal from almost anywhere with a view of the southern sky. On the top of the receiver is a built-in amplified antenna that receives signal while walking, jogging, riding a bike or doing almost any outside activity, without using an external car or home antenna. One thing to consider with these receivers is that the built-in antenna does need to have a view of the southern sky. This means that if you are walking you will need to use an arm band, belt clip or some other holder to keep the antenna with a clear view of the sky. AudioVox manufactures a set of antenna headphones that have a built-in antenna at the top of the headphones for best reception. The live portable players will also work in the car or home with accessory kits. Each receiver type requires the specific brand home or car kit to be able to connect it to an existing stereo system in the car, home or boat.

The Pioneer XMP3i is the only new XM Radio receiver that plays MP3 files and can record and store live XM Radio content. It features a sleek black casing and a color screen. You can enjoy live XM programming in your home, vehicle, or even on the go. The XMP3i is compatible with microSD™ cards for increased media storage. The XMP3 comes packaged with the XMP3i receiver and home kit accessories. If you want to listen to use the XMP3i in your car you will need to purchase the XMP3i vehicle kit.

We would have to say that the MP3 playback is a great feature of the XMP3i that no other XM Radio receivers have. Also, the XMP3i has a nice color display with an easy to use interface. You can also build and store your own music library and organize play lists.


Of all the XM receivers, this is one of the few that have a color screen. It is sleek and has the nice feature of MP3 storage and playback. So, I would say if you are looking for a top-of-the-line XM Radio receiver with MP3 playback, then the XMP3i is the right receiver for you.

XM Plug & Play Receivers


The most popular category of XM Radio receivers would be receivers in the "Plug & Play" category. These receivers are name "Plug & Play" receivers because of their ability to be used in the car, home, boat, and boom box. These receivers are the most affordable of all receivers yet they are the most flexible offering the widest variety of accessories, boomboxes, home kits, car kits, and replacement parts. There are many different makes and models of Plug & Play receivers but there are few differences in functionality and features.

Each receiver comes packaged with a receiver and car kit with all the needed parts and accessories to install the receiver into a car with an FM Radio. For those who want a direct connection with better sound quality we recommend purchasing a hardwired FM modulator like the XMFM1 FM Modulator Adapter. In order to install this part you must be able to pull out the radio from the dash so professional installation may be required.

You can also use XM Plug & Play receivers in the home by adding a home kit which includes audio cables for connecting to any home theater system through AUX/RCA cables (red and white plug cables with a small headphone jack on one end). Home kits come packaged with an indoor/outdoor antenna, power supply, cradle/stand, audio cables and installation instructions. Each Plug & Play receiver has a specific home kit that works with that particular receiver.

The SXABB1 Boombox allows you to take XM Radio with you anywhere you go. This state-of-the-art boombox features great sound and is able to be used with many different XM Radio receivers.

We have put together a few videos covering each of the Plug & Play receivers that are offered by XM Radio. Click below to watch each video.

Current XM Radio Plug & Play Receivers

The New XM Snap!


The easiest XM Radio to use and the Simplest to install. The XM snap is a low cost quality receiver designed for convenience and price minded customers. This unit features a built-in wireless modulator with PowerConnect Technology which allows it to play wireless through any car stereo. The Snap features 5 XM channel presets and 5 FM station presets for the wireless transmission. The XM snap is a great receiver for any one who wants to take XM Radio with them without all the hassle of installation.

XM SkyDock for iPod Touch & iPhone


If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch and you are interested in SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio but don't want to add another electronic device to your already full pockets or vehicle? Or maybe you're tired of the SIRIUS XM app tying up your 3G and iPhone and not getting the full channel line-up? Either way, the SkyDock is for you! The SIRIUS XM app is probably the greatest XM Radio experience. The ease of use and convenience of the app is great. It features a full color channel listing with logos and channel names. It also shows channel name, song title and artist. And with the latest updates you can pause and rewind XM Radio content.

  • Amazing Display: Take advantage of the beautiful screen on your iPod or iPhone and see everything on a brilliantly colored display rather than a small receiver screen.
  • PowerConnect: The SkyDock takes advantage of the new SIRIUS XM PowerConnect feature that allows you to play your XM over your car stereo system without the need for wires! PowerConnect replaces the old SureConnect technology previously used by SIRIUS XM.
  • Easy to Use Interface: Easily view channel, artist, song title & info extras on an interface that you already know and love.
  • Charge-n-Go: The SkyDock not only allows you to have XM Satellite Radio inside your vehicle but it also charges your iPhone or iPod while doing so!
  • Zero Functionality Loss: Your iPod or iPhone will continue to function exactly as it did before so you can continue to make and receive calls and txt messages or use your Bluetooth devices all while listening to XM Satellite Radio through it!


In our estimation the SkyDock is the one of the best XM Radio experiences as it brings in the abilities of the iPhone and iTouch with the power of XM Radio programming. If you have an iPhone or iTouch we highly recommend the XM SkyDock.

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